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CBS, 'The Voice' Push 'American Idol' Down To No. 5

PLUS: 'A Gifted Man' Makes Case For CBS

For the first time in pretty much "American Idol" history -- it's not just no longer No. 1 (or even in the top 3), but it's not even the top-rated reality singing show for the week.

NBC's "The Voice" has officially topped it, this week at least, working with "NCIS," "NCIS: Los Angeles" and "Big Bang Theory" on CBS to move "American Idol" all the way down to No. 5. While being in the top 5 is nothing to sneeze at, it certainly seems like a long way down for a show that has been the king of broadcast television for so long.

But if NBC is popping the cork every time they get a ratings report on their singing competition program, they better make sure it's the cheap stuff. Because of all the success behind "The Voice," it's not allowing anything else to ride on its coattails. Not even "Smash," which is not living up to its name in the ratings sense.

Two episodes of "The Voice" averaged a 9.0 household rating for NBC this past week. However, the rest of the schedule -- led by "The Celebrity Apprentice" -- averaged just a 3.3 household rating, a little more than a third. "Smash," the show that was supposed to help lead NBC back to the big times, earned a 4.1 rating/7 share this past week, according to Fast National overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co. That was down 21 percent from the week before, and 44 percent from its series premiere.

"Smash" has one of the best lead-ins -- "The Voice" -- but is losing 46 percent of its lead-in audience on average, and this past week, lost 57 percent. That does not spell good news for the show, especially with it finishing behind not only "Celebrity Apprentice," but "Biggest Loser" as well for the week.

One show that is really trying to stay alive on CBS is "A Gifted Man," its Friday drama starring Patrick Wilson and Jennifer Ehle. Since it moved to an hour timeslot later (following "Undercover Boss"), "Gifted Man" has built its audience 7 percent from its previous average. However, its 6.0 household average is still lower than the 6.4/11 "CSI: New York" was earning in that slot -- but not by much.

If science-fiction fans thought they found some salvation in "Alcatraz" on Fox, they may have to look forward to more "Terra Nova" instead. The series from J.J. Abrams has officially crashed and burned, earning just a 3.6/5 in its most recent outing. While that's only down 5 percent from the previous week, it's now 40 percent below its premiere, and averaging what "House" did both in the timeslot, and what it's doing now at the 8 p.m. hour. The only difference is that "House" has averaged a 4.3/6 in its last three outings, while "Alcatraz" managed just a 3.8/6.

That means "Alcatraz" is losing nearly 12 percent of its lead-in audience from "House," which is now in its last season on Fox.

But that may not mean the return of "Terra Nova," however. That show also averaged a 4.6/7 in the 8 p.m. timeslot, but the price tag on "Terra Nova" is far greater than "House" and "Alcatraz" combined.

ABC was led by "Modern Family" with a 6.8/10 while "NCIS" was a winner for CBS with a 12.1/19. It was "American Idol" as usual for Fox with a 9.4/14 while NBC had "The Voice" singing its way to a 9.6/14. The CW had a light schedule this week, and was led by "One Tree Hill" with a 1.0/2.

CBS is leading the entire season with a 7.6/12, followed by ABC with a 5.6/9, Fox with a 4.6/7, NBC with a 3.5/6 and The CW with a 1.2/2.

CBS and NBC were both up over their numbers last year, CBS by 4 percent and NBC by 15 percent. The rest of the networks were down compared to 2011.

Top Networks, Week of Feb. 19 -- [Audience Loyalty Index rating]

1. (1)    CBS    7.4/12    [60.8]
2. (3)    ABC    4.5/7    [66.3]
3. (2)    Fox    4.2/7    [44.6]
4. (4)    NBC    3.9/6    [41.1]
5. (5)    The CW    0.9/1    [86.0]

Top Network Shows, Week of Feb. 19 -- [ALI]

1. (1)    NCIS (CBS)    12.1/19    [94.5]
2. (5)    NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)    10.0/15    [93.2]
3. (8)    Big Bang Theory (CBS)    9.7/16    [93.3]
4. (7)    The Voice (NBC)    9.6/14    [92.9]
5. (2)    American Idol (Fox)    9.4/14    [88.9]
6. (3)    American Idol (Fox)    9.1/15    [95.1]
7. (4)    American Idol (Fox)    9.0/14    [89.2]
8. (11)    Person of Interest (CBS)    8.7/13    [88.5]
9. (9)    The Voice (NBC)    8.3/12    [95.7]
10. (10)    The Mentalist (CBS)    8.2/14    [92.8]

Top New Shows, Week of Feb. 19 -- [ALI]

1. (1)   Person of Interest (CBS)    8.7/13    [88.5]
2. (2)   Unforgettable (CBS)    7.0/12    [83.8]
3. (4)    2 Broke Girls (CBS)    6.7/10    [87.0]
4. (3)    Rob (CBS)    6.4/10    [86.8]
5. (5)   A Gifted Man (CBS)    5.9/10    [98.4]
6. (8)   Once Upon a Time (ABC)    5.5/9    [80.9]
7. (9)   Last Man Standing (ABC)    4.6/7    [69.6]
8. (10)   Suburgatory (ABC)    4.3/7    [82.6]
9. (6)    Smash (NBC)    4.1/7    [75.8]
10. (11)    New Girl (Fox)    3.7/6    [74.2]

Least-Watched Big Four Network Shows, Week of Feb. 19 -- [ALI]

1.    Cleveland Show (Fox)    1.6/3    [81.7]
2.    Fringe (Fox)    1.9/3    [92.9]
3.    Parks & Recreation (NBC)    2.1/3    [88.4]
4.    Up All Night (NBC)    2.2/3    [89.7]
5.    Kitchen Nightmares (Fox)    2.2/4    [89.3]
6.    Are You There, Chelsea? (NBC)    2.3/4    [65.5]
7.    Napoleon Dynamite (Fox)    2.4/4    [59.1]
7.    30 Rock (NBC)    2.4/4    [87.2]
9.    American Dad (Fox)    2.5/4    [75.6]
9.    Pan Am (ABC)    2.5/4    [51.1]

Fast Nationals usually provide a snapshot of what Americans are watching by pulling numbers from the top urban markets that include both live viewing and same-day timeshifted viewing. A rating point generally represents more than 1.1 million households while the share indicates the percentage of televisions turned on that was tuned to the specific program. These numbers typically shift when final ratings are issued.

Data collected from The Nielsen Co., as distributed by Zap2it. GenreNexus tracks non-news, non-event programming, and figures for this story reflect airing of new episodes only. For more information on the Audience Loyalty Index, click here.

About the Author

Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus and is a veteran print journalist. He lives in Tampa, Fla.
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